Andy & Mia

Refitting Isbjorn // 2018’s First Shakedown Sail

24 Apr

  Mia at the helm of Isbjorn's first shakedown sail on April 20 in Sweden.

Mia at the helm of Isbjorn’s first shakedown sail on April 20 in Sweden.

April 24, 2018: I’m writing from the dock in Strömstad, a Swedish summer city on the west coast, just south of the border with Norway. It’s April 24, two weeks to the day since we first moved back aboard the newly refit Isbjörn.

I’ve been hesitant to write anything about the process, mainly because we just haven’t had time. Anybody who commissions a boat in the springtime knows how much work is involved in just getting her liveable, especially when temperatures are still below freezing at ...

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Heavy Weather Sailing // Thoughts from Paul Exner

5 Apr


Note from Andy:

“This post was written by our friend and Isbjorn’s racing skipper Paul Exner, of Paul writes from Chiapas, Mexico, where he’s onboard his Cape George Cutter ‘Solstice,’ that he built himself. He’s en route to Hawaii, relocating his family after Hurricane Irma destroyed their home and way of life on Tortola in the BVI. Family & heavy weather is on Paul’s mind as he readies ‘Solstice’ to cross the Pacific…

How Paul Exner Thinks About Heavy Weather Sailing

Heavy Weather Sailing is an unavoidable and necessary part of being a yachtsman. Either you embrace it and ...

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Isbjorn’s Big Refit in Sweden: First Look Since September

10 Jan

Inside the main workshop at Vindö.

Inside the main workshop at Vindö.

On Sunday Mia & I made the pilgrimage to the west coast of Sweden to check in on Isbjörn for the first time since September. That was the last time we had seen the boat. Back then, she was still afloat, her rig standing, but stripped bare of sails and gear, on deck and down below. We’d emptied nearly everything off the boat in anticipation of the big winter refit. Sometime in late September, after we’d gone back to the USA for boat show in Annapolis, the gang at Vindö Marin pulled the rig ...

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The State of ‘Isbjorn’ Sailing in 2018 // Essay Podcast

2 Jan


Note: Today’s LONG blog post is also today’s podcast episode/essay. Tune in and hear Andy narrate all of what follows in episode #221 of On the Wind. Subscribe to the show via iTunes or your favorite podcast app. Or, click the player below to stream from the website or download to your desktop. The text, with lots of photos, is below.

It’s been a LONG time since I talked much about the business on here, and, now three years in (almost) and at the dawn of a new year, I feel like this is as good a time as any. ...

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South Pacific Memories (& a Future?)

29 Dec

Alex new LR.jpg

I get inspired to write when reading a really good book. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan. Won the Pulitzer Prize. The book is about, quite literally, what the title suggest. It also dredges up a LOT of nostalgia in me. I just finished reading a section on Fiji, in the 1970’s, when the author and his buddies discovered Tavarua, in Fiji.

I was there too, LONG after it was discovered, off the coast of Nadi, south of the Mamanuca’s, where I first met Clint and his brother Glenn, the first meeting on that trip that would ...

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Low Bridges & High Water on the ICW

23 Nov

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I’ve gotta finish the southbound delivery story.

We never made it to Stuart. After our brief offshore jump from Cape Fear, NC to Jacksonville, Florida, Dad, Tom & I spent three uneventful days motoring down the ICW. The days were boring, but satisfyingly uneventful. 

We met my dad’s old friend David in New Smyrna Beach. The timing worked out such that we motored into town just before sunset. I found a free city dock in front of one of the city buildings just north of the A1A fixed bridge. We maneuvered the boat against a strong NE wind and southbound ...

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Southbound Delivery: A Quick Jaunt Offshore

15 Nov

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I cooked the last of our sausages while Dad drove Meri through the inlet at Cape Fear. Tom napped. The current was with us, so we made 8.5 knots over the ground, motorsailing out beyond the lee of Cape Fear. I served dinner after dark, those sausages with leftover red potatoes and the last of the mustard. While Tom did dishes dad & I set the genoa and Meri aimed south on starboard tack under an overcast sky. The air warmed up quickly once in the ocean – the water remains in the mid-70s and seems to have acted to ...

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Offshore Into the Cold

11 Nov

Chilly willy start to the morning! But beautifully clear skies.

Chilly willy start to the morning! But beautifully clear skies.

We anchored s/v Meri just off the ICW last night around mile marker 265. A nice-looking 35-footer called Valkyrie was anchoring in a similar spot, just to the east of the channel in the only little hole of deep water. He called us up on the VHF as we waited for him to find his spot before moving in ourselves. The sun had gone over the horizon, leaving a brilliant orange glow to the south, that faded into a clear, deep blue sky overhead, with the first stars starting to ...

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A Greyscale Day on the ICW

10 Nov

Capt. Dennis (aka 'Andy's Dad') at the helm in the morning mist a few days back.

Capt. Dennis (aka ‘Andy’s Dad’) at the helm in the morning mist a few days back.

s/v Meri is underway today after a 24-hour pause in Beaufort. Time goes slowly when you have nothing you have to do. 

I went for a run in the afternoon, rain be damned. I couldn’t stand being cooped up in the boat any longer, and exercise is always a cure for the restless mind. I ran east along the waterfront road in Beaufort, keeping a jogging pace on the way out and admiring the fishing boats and white egrets along the way. One big ...

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Southbound: Indecision in Beaufort

9 Nov

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It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.

— Oscar Wilde

Stuck in Beaufort. Rain pours from the sky, heavier now than it’s been all morning. Any last inkling of going offshore today has been officially washed out. 

Dad, Tom & I borrowed the car from the Three Nice Guys at the Beaufort Docks marina and drove to Atlantic Beach for a midday breakfast at the Four Corners Diner, then on to West Marine to get a few supplies. Because that’s what you do during ...

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